Something I really want to share and explore through this blog are all the amazing people I know who are pursuing a fit active life. Deciding I wanted to do a Q&A series was the easy part… actually approaching people about being interviewed for it, that was harder. There was that fear that they wouldn’t be interested, this it was a silly waist of time, or that I would seriously drop the ball in publishing content and having readers.
As I began writing and designing this blog, I got up the courage to ask a very dear friend of mine, Akeem, if he would be the first Q&A. You know what he said? A big honest “YES”. That he would love to be part of something so encouraging.
Akeem lifts; lets find out more about that…
Q: Ok, so you lift- what does that mean?
A: Take it in the simplest of terms, I go to the gym and I push/pull weights in a way that’s smart and allows my body to progress in strength and physique. Not just physically, but mentally as well. The more I indulge in this fitness lifestyle, the more I realize that a good bit of making improvements in the gym deals with the mind. My biggest competitor is myself and what I think I can do.
Q: What motivated you to start?
A: Well I gave the gym a shot my first year in college. In middle and highschool I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue sports so I didn’t develop the way a lot of guys did who were freshman in the city. That kind of kicked me into gear to give weightlifting a shot. After I went the first time I got hooked! Sure I was slinging around 10’s and 15’s and had no idea what ‘form’ was, but I had a great experience researching and learning all about muscular development and training. 6 years later and here I am. Still learning and still enjoying the process.
Q: Where do you want this to take you?
A: As far as where I want to go…I don’t really have a stopping point. My main overall goal is to build a healthy foundation so that I can have a long healthy life with my wife and family. One short term-ish goal does include competing in the NPC Men’s Physique category, but I’m seeing that it’s going to take me a few more years to develop out my weaker features. I’m still learning more as I go, but I’ve gotten a lot better with eating correctly for this sport so we’ll see how long it takes.
Q: When you get stuck (physically, mentally, etc) how do you over come that and keep training?
A: I am exceptional at looking at progression in a long term format haha 🙂
I definitely have some bad days in the gym- missed reps, and failed PR’s- but I take it as just one set back. I don’t think it’s possible for someone to be 100% every workout session, so I don’t put that pressure on myself. If I get stuck, I let myself feel it, I reassess for next time, and I prepare myself mentally for the next session.
I also make the time to follow people that inspire me to work harder and keep moving forward when I feel like i’m getting stuck. Mike Rashid, Matt Ogus, Bradley Martyn, Zac Smith, Rob & Dana Bailey, and Gokuflex. They all are down to earth, informative, and positive people to follow.
Q: When you are not in the gym, what do you do!?
A: I’m a Creative Director at a small Ad Agency in the Greater Boston Area. I do creative marketing with various clients needing web design/development, print advertising, and broadcast work done. Outside of work and gym, I like to play music and explore with my camera when I have the opportunity.
Q: What is your favorite exercise?
A: I’d have to say bent over rows. For me its one of the few back exercises that has helped me develop a solid mind-muscle connection.
Q: How important is cross training to your lifting?
A: I think its very important! The lifting is only one part of fitness. But to become a better lifter, you need to have things like flexibility and a strong cardiovascular system to be able to push yourself further. Implementing training like Yoga, would work into loosening up your muscles and preventing injuries in lifting from lack of mobility. Yoga does great as well to improve balance and spatial awareness, which also goes to help in lifting safer and smarter. (I did not bribe him to say that! lol)
All of that is only from one alternate training option, there are many others that go to help as well. Crossfit, for one, is a stigma in the bodybuilding community, but if you’re open minded you’ll see that in short stints it helps to increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance. I think its important to be open minded and try new things at least once to see how they may benefit you.
Q: What would you tell someone who wants to start lifting?
A: First thing I would advise is that this is a long game when it comes to making gains and building a physique. Patience is key! When you first start lifting you’ll make gains right out of the gate (Newbie Gains haha), but after a few months strength and size will get harder to put on. That’s why you also need to do research on workout plans and nutrition.
The best thing you can do is find some people in the fitness industry that you trust (after researching them) and follow them on YouTube. These guys and gals are constantly giving out advice and tips on proper lifting and dieting for progress in the gym and in the kitchen for free. A lot of them have workout plans and online coaching, but I’m finding that if you’ve been researching for a while and doing programs on bodybuilding.com they’re all kind of the same. After a while you learn about your body and how to make plans that can benefit you on your own, but we all start somewhere 😉
Give me some words of wisdom!
A: Regardless of your training preference do it for yourself, do it safely, and make sure it makes you happy!
Want to keep up with Akeem as he continues to hit the gym and reach new goals?
Follow him on Instagram @akeem.lifts
Want to be a featured Q&A? I’m looking to interview many more friends on fitness, “lifestyle”, food stuffs and more.
Thanks for reading y’all!